Sunday, November 17, 2013


Halo Oil on linen 82 x 182 cm 2009

Around the world people are concerned about issues of climate change and global warming. All kinds of pollution compromise our environment, ultimately causing changes to the quality of life-sustaining elements such as land, air, water, soil and more. The big issue is how humanity's actions impact on not just life-sustaining elements, but climate in general. Halo [above] depicts the Earth created by a tree-of-life which is encircled by a 'halo' of white... representing our atmosphere.

I remember in the late 60s, when I was at primary school, learning about various kinds of pollution . That's a long time ago and we are still battling with, and arguing about, ways to mitigate pollution and its insidious effects. Obviously attempts have been made, but new technologies create new kinds of waste and pollution, and rising consumerism and industrial/technological 'progress' not only in the west, but also in developing countries, creates excess and demand. The recent movie Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney uses a real modern day pollution issue as the catalyst for an action packed storyline. The pollution is space debris...yep in just over 55 years since the first satellite went into space we have created what's called 'orbital space debris'! I recently wrote about this in my post Something About Space

Why did I call this post The Value Of Landscape? Yes, it is a 'loaded' title! As we draw financial value from the literal landscape [mining, agriculture, urban development etc] are we losing sight of its real value which goes way beyond the monetary? In my last post Knowing Landscape - Art and Science I wrote Landscape is an integral part of humanity's experience of life. It orientates us, feeds us, provides energy for us, induces awe, challenges us and gives us a place to call 'home'. It can embrace us and it can also annihilate us, and at both extremes, and in the spaces in between there are reminders that we are part of the body of landscape. We are never really separate from it. Indeed, when we die it enfolds us as we return to dust. At some time in the far distant future Earth will also return to star dust, as a result of our Sun's death throes.
Earth For Sale Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2008
This ambiguous 'landscape' is painted with small $ signs.
But, what about the depiction of landscape and its 'value' to humanity? Yep, The Value Of Landscape is definitely a loaded title! Since humankind could pick up drawing utensils, the depiction of landscape [and landscape elements] orientated people physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. Myths, stories and legends drew upon landscape, and landscape elements, as metaphors for various aspects of human existence. These stories were illustrated or illuminated through various artforms across time. Landscape depiction certainly has a long and fascinating which has a deep underlying value to humanity's sense of self, space and place.

But, what of contemporary landscape depiction? There are still artists who faithfully reproduce real landscapes scenes with traditional techniques and those who use super-reality contemporary methods. There are artists who photograph landscape, artists who manipulate landscape and its elements in more abstract ways, environmentally concerned artists who depict the destruction of landscape reminding the viewer of loss, fantasy artists who create magical landscapes as if trying to recapture the untouched environment...and so on.

Galactic Horizons and Beyond Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012

Regular readers have probably worked out where I am going next! Yep, let's untether concepts of landscape depiction from earth-bound horizons and explore the new perspectives [of close and far distance] that contemporary cosmological [the study of the Universe] research has revealed. Untethering does not mean we abandon Earth-bound landscape depiction! It just means we may see it differently and in doing so potentially assist in discovering new ways of 'seeing' our environmental issues. These new ways of 'seeing' may stimulate different questions...and subsequently reveal the answers our Earth environment needs.

But, even the concept of environment changes when 'seen' with the perspectives revealed by cosmology! As I have previously written, cosmic perspectives orientate us, and Earth, within a Universal environment...Earth maybe our home, but the Universe is our environment.
Cosmic Address Oil on linen 90 x 180cm 2013


1 comment:

Audubon Ron said...

Pollution? I'm still dealing with people throwing trash out of their car window.